December 1, 2009

December Double Play!

Last year when the holiday season rolled around, I felt compelled to offer up a double playlist, in the spirit of giving and all that blah blah blah. So why not do it again this year? It's not like there's a shortage of stellar music to choose from. So pour yourself a hot toddy, sit back by the fire, spark one if ya got one and enjoy your double dose of spacerock. In fact, these two playlists are absolute monsters, a nonstop barrage, no punches pulled, no holds barred. In fact, I'm not even sure you people are ready for this... ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?!?!? Okay then...

A funny thing happened after Mercury Rev's second album Boces: they lost their lunatic frontman David Baker, and guitarist Jonathan Donahue, upon seizing the reigns, seemed to have lost his distortion pedals. The lighter, more mercurial Mercury model has done some great work since then, but nothing comes close their first and best album, represented here with our lead-off track. Completely unrelated come Portland's mysterious freejam ensemble Eternal Tapestry with a track from some limited-release CDR. Next up, yet another track from Oneida's sprawling triple CD from this year, one of '09's best releases.

So with last month's epic and ever-expanding americana set I finally realized that Memphis' gritty lysergic blooz punx the Grifters have been sorely underrepresented here, so I'll be making up for that in the future, and here we have a quintessential stomper from them, followed by more dark South(west)ern Gothic from from Spindrift, and another of this year's best, Sleepy Sun (more to come from them!). Another band I dearly love that I had to shake free of the mothballs and give new life is the mighty Snowmen, from San Francisco's pre-dotcom musical renaissance, circa '95. Transitioning nicely, Sonic Youth have yet another entry from their best album in years, also from 2009, followed by the refreshingly noisy Wavves and the jarringly berserk Mahjonng.

Right about there we get a taste of African (and African-American) psychedelia with Johannesburg, South Africa's BLK JKS and Brooklyn, NY (by way of Cleveland, OH)'s Dragons of Zynth. Where else to go but with one of the greatest bands of all time, The Flaming Lips, this track culled from their current release, another contender for Best of '09. Okay, so I can't get enough Cave, so sue me - this track's from this year as well, as are the next few contenders for the year-end roundup, slightly mellowing noisemongers Fuck Buttons, lo-fi garage trippers Crocodiles, and the "loudest band in New York", A Place To Bury Strangers.

Demented and demonic prog-metalist Maynard James Keenan gets alternate ends of his career represented with his recent side project Puscifer and his full time band Tool's very first album. Keeping it heavy is metallic postrockers Russian Circle, then a psychedelic tribute to an obscure 80's porn star by non-Seattlites (they were from Providence, Rhode Island) Space Needle. Wrapping up our first set is one of the dreamiest-ever tracks from sadly overlooked Aussie psych-pop godfathers The Church.

The following tracks should appear in the player below:

Chasing A Bee - Mercury Rev - Yerself Is Steam
Brain Drain - Eternal Tapestry - Mushroom Owl
Luxury Travel - Oneida - Rated O
Holmes - The Grifters - Crappin' You Negative
Colt's Crime - Spindrift - The West
White Dove - Sleepy Sun - Embrace
V-8 Vega - The Snowmen - Soundproof
Anti-Orgasm - Sonic Youth - The Eternal
Vermin - Wavves - Wavvves
Blivable Dogggiiiieeeee - Mahjonng - Raydoncong
Lakeside - BLK JKS - Mystery
Breaker - Dragons Of Zynth - Coronation Thieves
Silver Trembling Hands - The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
High, I Am - Cave - Psychic Psummer
Rough Steez - Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport
Refuse Angels - Crocodiles - Summer Of Hate
Ego Death - A Place To Bury Strangers - Exploding Head
Vagina Mine - Puscifer - V Is For Vagina
Sober - Tool - Undertow
Geneva - Russian Circles - Geneva
Hypatia Lee - Space Needle - The Moray Eels Swallow The Space Needle
Is This Where You Live? - The Church - Of Skins And Heart

Ready for Round 2?!?!?

This one starts off with an extended motorik motif featuring enigmatic lo-fi deconstructionists Blues Control, continuing with Cave (YES AGAIN!) off their first album this time, Eternal Tapestry (see above), jangle-psychsters The Feelies (circa 1980), and early Can, with original vocalist Malcolm Mooney at his most unhinged. Speaking of Can, and speaking of Thin White Rope (weren't we? see the November installment!), the next track, a Can song, would have fulfilled both the americana and spacerock cover versions sets in one fell swoop! Well, better late than never. And no spacerock set would be complete without an homage to a particular line of guitar fuzz effects pedals, this time from skullfucker extraordinaire Skullflower.

From this point on I relinquish all responsibility as to the damage the next couple tracks are capable of inflicting upon the unsuspecting listener's mind. Suffice it to say, it's an extended mid-set mind journey courtesy of free-folk improv ensemble Sunburned Hand of the Man, and oscillator-'n'-tapes pioneers White Noise (featuring 60s-era BBC composer and temptress Delia Derbyshire - Dr. Who anyone?!?!?!). To bring us out of the analog synth morass is a feedback symphony from electronica producer Nathan Fake, the bliss pop of a digitally forged variety from Delorean, and a slip into an electronic epiphany with Mountains.

A slow return to consciousness via Piano Magic, then being transported into the ether with yet another self-referentially titled track from the stellar new Oneida collection, and finally taking it into the stratosphere with Iowan shamans Raccoo-oo-oon should be about all you need to ring in the new year and hang in there until January's BEST OF 2009 installment! Bon voyage.

The following tracks should appear in the player below:

Good Morning - Blues Control - Local Flavor
4.24.06 - Cave - Hunt Like Devil
Temporal Starshine Voyager - Eternal Tapestry - Mushroom Owl
Forces At Work - The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms
Uphill - Can - Delay 1968
Yoo Doo Right - Thin White Rope - Sack Full Of Silver
Big Muff - Skullflower - Ruins
No Magic Man - Sunburned Hand Of The Man - No Magic Man
The Black Mass: An Electric Storm In Hell - White Noise - An Electric Storm
The Sky Was Pink - Nathan Fake - Drowning In A Sea Of Love
Seasun - Delorean - Ayrton Senna
Summer Of Dub - Color Filter - I Often Think In Music
Add Infinity - Mountains - Choral
Waking Up - Piano Magic - Low Birth Weight
O - Oneida - Rated O
Forever/In The Woods - Raccoo-oo-oon - The Cave Of Spirits Forever